Mining giant’s train runs 90 kilometers without driver



The Australian Transport Safety Bureau said it was investigating the incident.

The driver of a BHP Billiton-operated train got out to inspect an issue with one of its 268 wagons on Monday when it took off without him on the Newman to Port Hedland line in the remote Pilbara region.

The derailment came after the train ran away at high speed for almost 100 km (62 miles) when the driver left the cabin for an inspection.

A huge runaway train laden with iron ore had to be derailed remotely after speeding through the Australian outback for nearly an hour. It was eventually deliberately derailed, which was operated by a control center. It averaged about 68 miles per hour and traveled for some 50 minutes before it was derailed, according to Australia's ABC. No-one was injured in the incident.

There are more than 130 people working on the recovery, which is expected to increase as the track work ramps up.

Western Australia's premier, Mark McGowan, told ABC that it was clear "extraordinary measures" had been necessary.

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BHP's rail operations in Western Australia have now been suspended. While the driver was outside the train, it took off with no one on board. "There would have been a procedure in place to make sure the train didn't move off".

There were no injuries in the derailment, but the train was extensively damaged.

BHP will rely on stockpile reserves of iron ore at Port Headland to maintain its port operations.

The company earlier this week warned its stockpiles of iron ore - a key steelmaking ingredient - were insufficient to cover the anticipated period of disruption, and BHP would need to liaise with its customers on its contractual commitments.

In July rival mining giant Rio Tinto clocked up a world first when its maiden driverless train voyage carried 28,000 tonnes of iron ore 280 kilometres from its Mount Tom Price mine to a WA port.

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